The Benefits of the SACUBO Benchmarking Study

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Benchmarking | 3 comments

The 2nd annual SACUBO benchmarking project is currently underway. We had the honor of discussing the results of last year’s benchmarking project with SACUBO Fall Workshop participants in November which gave us the opportunity to really dig into the numbers.   Here a couple of insights:


1.  Although SACUBO is comprised of a diverse membership, we found that even though the actual amounts were different, the overall three-year trends were similar for all the constituent groups with the exception of a few outliers.   For example, we discovered that average adjusted operating revenues (net tuition and fees plus appropriations, as applicable) per FTE student remained relatively flat from FY 2010 to FY 2012 for all the constituent groups.  This suggests that the downturn in the economy and corresponding reduction in state appropriations was addressed overall by increasing tuition.  What is most interesting is that institutions from all constituent groups tended to react the same way.


2.  While benchmarking information is useful when analyzing the trends of the constituent group as a whole, adding institutional data can help the institution assess whether its individual results fall within its expected range given the population and the institution’s make-up compared to the constituent population.

In the example below, the graph is an excerpt of the total salaries and benefit expenses by FTE student data from last year’s Community College benchmark results plus the addition of one specific college’s institutional data.  In comparison to the total population, the sample community college is above the constituent group average.  When coupled with institutional insight, the below metric could help management of the community college assess if its salary costs are causing some stress on its operating results or if its results reflect the institution’s lower than average student to faculty ratio.  Analysis of its institution specific data combined with the results the constituent data within the benchmarking report can help management assess the current performance of its institution and set goals for its future operations.   

Salaries and benefit expenses by FTE student


Salaries and benefit expenses by FTE student

Salaries and benefit expenses by FTE student

3.  Even within each constituent group, the institutions vary by size, by student make-up, by location and by mission.  By defining an even more specific peer group, and comparing institutional results to the result for that specific group will help an institution add further meaning to those results.  In the example for the above institution, by defining a specific peer group, such as all community colleges located in North Carolina, and comparing the peer results against its own results, the institution is able to garner further information and meaning from its results by removing differences that could be due to location and possibly state structure.

As the deadline for the benchmarking survey draws closer, we’d like to encourage everyone to participate in this year’s benchmarking study.   For more information on the SACUBO benchmarking study, please visit the SACUBO website at

If you are interested in having assistance in mapping your specific institutional data to the overall benchmarking data, or to a specific peer group, we can help.  We are also available to consult with members of your management team to help you analyze specific results for planning and decision making.  For information contact

Blog Submitted by:


 Karen Walker, Senior Manager

Cherry Bekaert’s Education Industry Group





Roselle Bonnoitt, Senior Manager

Cherry Bekaert’s Education Industry Group

3 Responses to “The Benefits of the SACUBO Benchmarking Study”

  1. Francis Porche says:

    I would like to know how to get the benchmark analysis presented by Ms Bekaert at the SACUBO conference on 04/13/2014. I was registered and attended the conference but did not make her session because I attended the late morning service at Cornerstone Baptist Church in San Antonio. Also, please send to my home email address,, thanks.

    Francis Porche, CPA, CFE
    26191 HWY 383
    Kinder, La. 70648

    • Michael Haag says:

      There were four benchmarking presentations on April 13 – one each for small institutions, community colleges, comprehensive colleges and research and doctoral institutions. If you will let us know which presentation you are interested in, we will provide a written copy to you.

      Thanks for your interest!

  2. Danny Grimes says:

    would like to know how to get the benchmark analysis presented by Ms Bekaert at the SACUBO conference on 04/13/2014. Research and Doctoral Institutions
    Danny Grimes
    Payroll Director
    Texas A&M Univeristy

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